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WASHINGTON – A Supreme Court decision striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act could lead to the precedent the president could act like an “autocratic dictator,” said Matthew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel and dean of the Liberty University Law School.
By striking down DOMA, Staver said in an interview with WND, “It would set the precedent that the president can pick and choose which laws he wants to enforce and which ones he does not.”
That, he said, would make a president an “autocratic dictator” by default, as he no longer would be bound by his oath of office to enforce all laws.
The accusation comes as the Supreme Court heard testimony today on the constitutionality of DOMA. The controversy started back in 2011 when the Obama administration announced that the Justice Department would no longer defend DOMA.
Now the decision stands before the high court on whether or not federal benefits apply to homosexual couples. A second part on whether states will be forced to recognize homosexual “marriages” from other states is not before the court.
Ken Connelly, a lawyer with the Alliance Defense Fund told WND in an interview that he “would not characterize it that way,” but yet said, “There is an inherent contradiction” today because the executive branch is refusing to enforce and defend the law of the land.
He said that is “incorrect” from a legal standpoint.
Staver and Connelly are not the only ones with concerns over the role of the president and the federal government’s power. Reuters today said Justice Anthony Kennedy expressed concern over the president’s decision to no longer enforce the laws of DOMA and called his behavior “very troubling.”
Additionally, Kennedy, along with Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, all expressed their concerns over the federal government’s role in this case, with Sotomayor saying, “What gives the federal government the right to be concerned at all about the definition of marriage?”
Kennnedy told Washington attorney Paul D. Clement, who was defending DOMA, that he thinks there is “a real risk” that DOMA interferes with the traditional role the states play in regulating marriage.
The debate over DOMA comes on the heels of the debate over Proposition 8 and the constitutionality of “gay marriage.”
The arguments in the dispute over that California state constitutional amendment were heard one day earlier. Connelly expressed serious concern over the potentially infringement of states’ rights if the high court rules against Proposition 8.
That could overturn the bans on same sex “marriage” in all of the other states that have banned it. Connelly said that “same sex marriage is not a fundamental right that is deeply rooted in our nation’s history” therefore states should be allowed to determine which way they want to go in regards to this issue.
Herb Titus, a constitutional lawyer who has advocated before the Supreme Court, makes the argument that the debate over Proposition 8 is nothing more than over a name.
“There is a social, political and emotional significance to the name of ‘marriage,'” he said, citing how homosexual unions in California, already before the passing of Proposition 8, enjoy the full benefits of marriage, without the title.
Connelly agrees with this and cited the tension over a name as legitimate, given that “marriage has an objective meaning, specifically one man and one woman. That is rooted in the reality that children need a mother and father.”
Connelly additionally argued that the state has a right to define marriage as “it is clear that this predates the government…” and that “it is a fundamental building block of society.’
He said, “Protecting marriage is society’s time tested way to bless as many children as possible with a mom and a dad.”
An interview with Staver is posted online:
Staver said he was gravely disappointed in the performance of the attorney defending Proposition 8 and painted a picture of what America would look like with legalized homosexual "marriage" based on what already is evident in the states where the institution exists.
He said the justices seem very reluctant to make any sort of sweeping declaration about the definition of marriage. However, he fears the shaky legal standing of those defending traditional marriage in California and at the federal level might lead to limited wins for those supporting homosexual "marriage."
While the discussions of this week's cases center on the legal arguments and possible rulings, Staver said there are very real, very negative consequences to homosexual "marriage" being legalized in these decisions or at any time in the future. He said evidence from the states where homosexual "marriage" is legal paints a sobering picture for anyone who doesn't agree with the homosexual agenda.
"If the Supreme Court went the wrong way, it would be catastrophic because it would literally reshape America. It would undermine marriage and the institution of marriage. We've seen that in the Netherlands that adopted a same-sex civil union type of arrangement in 2000. We've seen information that's coming out of Norway, Denmark and Sweden, where marriages are simply falling apart. Children are being born out of wedlock. Males are not committed to the marriage relationship. When you have children being born out of wedlock at a greater rate, what you ultimately have is a dumbing-down of the economy, a weakening of the economy. You have a damaging of the children and the family structure. What you have is a significant breakdown of the very core of society," Staver said.
"Moreover, it would put this homosexual agenda on a direct collision course with the exercise of religion. We saw what happened in Massachusetts, and it's just one of many, many examples of where same-sex marriage and same-sex unions come into play. Catholic charities have had to get out of the adoption ministry because they're not going to violate their religious beliefs and place children in homes with same-sex couples. You see that with people who run bed and breakfasts, wedding photographers, cake decorators and it goes on and on and on, where you're going to have to choose between your profession or same-sex agendas," he said.
"Then you look at the public schools. Parental rights will be undermined. Children as young as kindergarten will be forced to have information fed to them about, not just tolerance and alternative families which is bad enough with regards to re-definition of the family, but that same-sex, aberrant sexual behavior is normative, good and healthy. That's the kind of thing that you're going to see in the public schools, and we're seeing it already in some of these states like Massachusetts that have adopted same-sex marriage," Staver said.
"This would be on a nationwide basis. It would be catastrophic. I think it would ultimately be the beginning of the end of the United States of America as we know it."
See a report on today's arguments:
WND earlier reported that one of the briefs in the DOMA case confirmed that Obama effectively admitted that the law that says for federal purposes only marriage between one man and one woman will be recognized is constitutional.
That was from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a premiere civil and religious rights legal team that analyzed the Obama team's filings in the challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The defense of the federal law has been taken up by others, since Obama, and his attorney general, Eric Holder, announced they simply were abandoning the law approved by Congress and signed by President Clinton.
The analysis explains, "The Department of Justice does not challenge DOMA under traditional rational-basis analysis, which is the appropriate constitutional standard and the standard that the court applied in Romer v. Evans (an equal-protection challenge based on 'sexual orientation')." the group said. "Thus the Department of Justice effectively concedes that DOMA is constitutional. That is the only reasonable conclusion under rational-basis review, for opposite-sex couples generally further the state's procreative purposes for marriage while same-sex couples do not."
The explanation continued, "The Department of Justices' argument that DOMA is unconstitutional ignores that laws like DOMA, which affirm marriage as the union of one man and one woman, rationally distinguish between same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples, and that this biologically based distinction is rooted in the reality that only opposite-sex couples naturally procreate. DOMA is constitutional for this reason because the Constitution requires only that the government treat similarly situated persons similarly. The government is not required to engage in gestures of superficial equality or otherwise pretend that different things are the same."
The ADF said while the DOJ claims "sexual orientation" should be treated like race or sex – triggering that heightened constitutional scrutiny – that's not within reality because "'sexual orientation' is not an immutable or well-defined characteristic, as admitted even by scholars of that issue who support redefining marriage."
"Moreover, gays and lesbians wield tremendous political power, as is abundantly apparent by, among several other things, this brief filed by the Department of Justice and the most recent elections where a majority of citizens in Maine, Maryland, and Washington voted to redefine marriage."
The ADF said the DOJ also argues that promoting responsible procreation is not really an important governmental objective.
"The Supreme Court has made clear that defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is constitutional as a matter of public policy. Thus, Congress and President Clinton acted constitutionally when DOMA was enacted. The wisest course is for the Supreme Court to resist demands to prematurely end the national debate over the future of marriage. The court should respect the freedom of both Congress and citizens to affirm a bedrock social institution that diverse cultures and faiths have honored throughout the history of Western Civilization," said Austin Nimocks, senior counsel for the ADF.
The oral arguments before the court also have been posted online: